Stavanger - The unique town of Norway

STAVANGER - The Unique Town of Norway

Stavanger is located in southwest of Norway, a port on the Atlantic Ocean, a modern town of (1995 estimate) 104.000 inhabitants. Stavanger is a pioneer in many ways. By the time of the first historical records of Scandinavia, about the 8th century AD, some 29 small kingdoms existed in Norway. In AD 872 the first king of Norway, Harald Fair Hair, fought a ferocious battle in Hafrsfjord, 5 km from Stavanger, and Norway was united at last under one ruler.

From a brief description of Stavanger`s past, stone monuments to him can be seen all around the area as can monuments the famous chieftain Erling Skjalgsson, who freed his slaves a thousand years before this became a popular philosophy.

A historic highlight for the last half of the 20th century was when oil was found under the ocean that once provided large fish-canning industri. Now, this part of Norway is the nation`s richest. Because of Stavanger`s healthy economy and good standard of living, thousands of people from 90 nations have made Stavanger their home.

Walk along the sidewalk in Stavanger and look at the windows in private homes. Look carefully at Stavanger`s houses. While at first glance they do not appear so far removed from a simple frame of ranch-style homes in other countries, closer examinations reveals additional proof of the Norwegian need for the outdoors, for light. "Our honor and power have been given us by the white sails," wrote Norwegian author Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson as early as 1868. He was right. Shipping and trading in lumber have, more than anything else, laid the foundation for Norwegian growth. The picture below showing old "seahouses" in the harbour - from that time of the "white sails." Today those old buildings are mostly cafè and gourmet restaurants.

During the sunlit summer the harbour and the nearby marked place - and the fresh-fish marked - are outdoors roofless living rooms - with musicians and street peddlers, open air restaurants, and lightly-clad people who seem to have all the time in the world. There is no sport or open air-activity which can`t be practiced within the city`s borders, summer or winter. You can sail or swim in salt water, or in fresh water if you prefer. You can go ice skating or slalom skiing.

Archeological treasures can be found all along Stavanger`s coastline that date man`s occupation here back to the beginning of the current climatic period. Traces of Stone Age and Iron Age man join scattered Vikings remains: Proving that Norway has always been "the way north".

Michael Holmboe Meyers history-guide of Stavanger.